Helion's Czechoslovak Arms Exports to the Middle East vol 3

Author/Artists: Martin Smisek


Helion  Publishing


$29.95 MSRP from Casemate


Scott Van Aken

Notes: 72 pages, softcover
ISBN 978-1-915070-78-4

This is the third volume on Czechoslovak weapons sales and covers Egypt. During the time after WWII, Egypt shed British dominance in the country, and not exactly on super-friendly terms. As a result, they needed to find a source of arms for all of its various military sources. One nation that provided a lot of military gear to nations in the Middle East was Czechoslovakia. This was even more prominent after it was taken over by a communist regime and came under the thumb of the Soviet Union.

In 1952 Egypt approached the Czech government for tanks. However, nothing came of this until 1955 when the Czechs decided to go ahead and fulfill what was a fairly large request of armaments with everything from pistols to aircraft. The Czechs were unable to provide much of what was needed directly, but did act as a middleman between Egypt and the USSR. The Soviets felt that providing equipment to Egypt would give them a foothold for the spread of communism in this area. Later, they came to discover that the Egyptians had no intention of allowing communism to spread into their country.

Like all arms deals, there was also a requirement for training. One simply does not provide gear and think that the recipient will know how to use it. This was particularly true of the everyday soldier and NCO, who were generally less educated than the Europeans. Egypt not only sent people to Czechoslovakia, but also to other Warsaw Pact countries as well as having both Czech and later Soviet instructors come to Egypt. Much of this weaponry in the first and subsequent contracts was paid for in kind, specifically cotton.

All went fairly well, though there were times when the Egyptians became dissatisfied with the Soviets and both the USSR and Czechoslovakia became disillusioned by the Egyptian's slowness in making payment. After the 1973 war with Israel, Egypt decided to look elsewhere for military support and the US was happy to help out in that regard. This pretty well put an end to weapons sales from Czechoslovakia.

The book covers every one of the various sales along with the various training operations until the Czechs stopped dealing with Egypt. It is a nicely researched book and covers every single transaction as well as anything unique or interesting about each one. It provides insight on what it was like to deal with the Egyptians over the years. As usual, it includes maps, tables and full color profiles. A book that is well written and one that I found particularly interesting as the subject is rarely put into print. I think you'll like it. 

August 2022

Copyright ModelingMadness.com. All rights reserved. No reproduction in part or in whole without express permission.

Review book courtesy of  Casemate Publishing, where you can order your copy at this link.

If you would like your product reviewed fairly and fairly quickly, please contact the editor or see other details in the Note to Contributors.